Thursday, March 16, 2017

Geezers Gonna Geez

You try to save a dollar and some music friends just aren't up to the challenge.

First he said yes (when I told him there would be multiple female-fronted bands and reminded him that he likes guitars, he responded, "And females!") and then he backed down an hour later. No pressure here, though.

For all I know, it was that I was inviting him to a Sadie Hawkins Dance at the Camel, which wasn't actually a dance but did feature four young bands and since he's a musician himself, seemed like the kind of thing he'd dig. Which he did, until he didn't.

And because he's the ever-droll person he is, he announced his change of heart to the world on Facebook.

I wanted to go to the Rock Show, but I'm gonna stay in and make French toast. As many of you may be aware, I am elderly.

I find this especially hilarious not just because I am older but because I don't find the making of French toast and then going to a show mutually exclusive. As it turned out, paying the extra dollar penalty for not being part of a couple was more than worth it for the four young bands that tore up the stage tonight.

Onomatopooeia was one guy singing earnestly over electronica, making for pop songs that verged on chillwave and while he was a great opening for the show, I'm not gonna lie, I was there for the girl bands.

Call me a sexist who paid full price.

Next came the Talkies and they'd been highly recommended to me by a music nerd who'd featured them on his podcast repeatedly, not tough to understand after watching them for half a minute.

The lead singer wore a silvery blue knit dress with a dark blue bow centered above her bangs while the bass player - she had "yes" and "no" stickers just above her strings - had on a yellow print granny dress (look it up, kids), complete with ruffle at the bottom, an adorable choice to set off her dreads and tattoos.

And the other two members of the band? Nerd-cute guys with glasses in plaid shirts, a good look for a band that melds shoegaze and neo-grunge.

Apologizing for the possibility that her voice might crack - "I've had the flu all week. It sucks!" - the singer managed to nail everything she sang, from "Trashcan Doritos" to "Goosebumps Goodbye" (soon, I hope) while managing to look pouty and smart at the same time.

The Cyrenaics only boasted one woman and she was tiny, but her voice was twice her size and backing her up was a straight ahead '70s-sounding rock band (the drummer got points for wearing a scarf, tie, vest and jacket, removing the latter to actually drum) that allowed her talent to be the focal point of every song.

That big voice was enough to get the people in front of the stage bending rhythmically at the waist as a means of grooving, although I have no idea why that was their chosen means of expression.

Then out of the blue I was joined by the old friend I'd seen last night for the first time in two years, toting a camera. She sashayed in wearing a long white dress, fake fur white leopard jacket and plopped down next to me. I don't know which of us was more surprised, although it may have been her since she was actually expecting a dance.

I knew better.

She was just in time to hear the band say they were going to do Etta James' "I'd Rather Go Blind," a song with which she was familiar but I wasn't (go figure). "That's a hard song, hard on the voice," my friend informs me. "Beyonce couldn't do it." This singer could and the crowd ate it up, even if they had no idea who Etta James was.

During the break, my friend observed, "There are too many dreads for my taste here," and then brought me up to date on where she'd been since I used to see her on a regular basis.

Amsterdam, where she'd fallen for a French rugby player (and former culinary student) who'd taken her back to his apartment to make breakfast, only to find his so-called girlfriend there and in hysterics. St. Tropez where she'd met a cute basketball player from Monte Carlo, who told her it was over-rated, with empty casinos and tourists.

"To get sex on a regular basis in America, you have to be in a relationship," she tells me. "Not in Europe!" Clearly, she'd tested this hypothesis enough to have achieved quantifiable results.

She'd come to see the Smirks because she knew the singer but it wasn't long before she announced that they were pretty good, too. What's not to like about a garage punk trio with a female bass player singing, a female guitarist and a tattooed drummer with no shirt?

"Did he really need to play with his shirt off?" my friend asked rhetorically. No, but how else could he show off his huge chest piece (no, that's not a metaphor)?

Seconds after my friend's food was dropped off mid-set, the singer said, "I think somebody got fries because suddenly it smells so good in here." The offender never stopped chowing down long enough to acknowledge she was the culprit.

Besides, the melodic thrash they were putting out had inflamed the crowd to the point that they were slam-dancing, occasionally falling to the floor and being carried on the backs of others. The women from the Talkies were right in there slamming, flu germs and all.

Although tonight's crowd was small - one of the excuses my musician friend had used was that it was cold "AF" - it made for an intimate setting to see these up and coming young bands who'll almost certainly be playing to much fuller audiences before long. It's always a treat to see talent near the beginning.

You may be slightly older, but you are also a healthier specimen.

Pure conjecture on his part, although as many of you may be aware, I'm not much of a fan of French toast.

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